In a recent column for ESPN’s Truehoop blog, Kevin Arnovitz highlighted the effectiveness of lineups in which Chandler Parsons plays power forward. Indeed, according to 82games, in the three most commonly used lineups with Parsons at the 4, the Rockets are a combined +54 points against opposing lineups. This compares with the two most frequently used lineups featuring traditional power forwards (Morris and Patterson), in which the Rockets are a combined +8 points (in nearly six times as many total minutes). Much of the effectiveness of these lineups comes at the offensive end, where the Rockets are simply blowing away opponents. The Rockets are scoring 122, 133, and 138 points per 100 possessions in the three aforementioned lineups while defending at a level similar to that of lineups with a more traditional power forward.
When Parsons shifts to power forward, his individual production remains essentially unchanged (his PER increases slightly from 15.1 to 15.4) while he’s actually able to hold opponents to a lower PER (11.8 vs. 13.4 against opposing small forwards). At 6’9’’ and 227 pounds, Parsons has a similar, albeit less bulky, build to that of Patterson and Morris, who both stand at 6’9’’ and 235 pounds. Parsons is also similar in size to (but not as strong as) the 6’8’’, 230 pound Carmelo Anthony, who has enjoyed much success playing power forward for the Knicks this season. In short, the Rockets have played well when Parsons moves over to the 4; at the very least, this fact gives Houston more flexibility in their lineup combinations. With Patrick Patterson’s return from injury however, it may be a while until we see these lineups used with any sort of frequency.